A matter of time


Image: Carey, Chris. clockstreetcanal.jpg. 1-Mar. Pics4Learning. 3 Dec 2011

I am about to change jobs. Both my current job and new job contracts specify the time I am meant to be at work. What is very different about my new job – Project Manager – is that every step is so strongly dictated to by time deadlines – X has to be completed by such and such a time, and so forth.

“Time” – a fascinating topic. So I thought I’d blog a little article about it.

However, little did I know what a challenge I set myself when I decided to write about ‘time’.

We hear and speak of “time” in many different contexts:
• It seems we ‘run out of time’ in meeting deadlines
• ‘it’s time’ when we have to finish something or when a change is called for
• “don’t waste time” is what we are told when it seems we are about to do nothing with time
• ‘doing time’ is a period (it seems) of imprisonment
• ‘what’s the time?’ is a question we ask when we need to know the clock time
• ‘if only I had time’ we implore when we seek something we thing we don’t have, or
• ‘I’ve no time’ we say when something that needs doing is something we say we cannot ; or
• “I wish I had time to….” we say when we believe somehow that time is not present for us and we have to wish for its existence
• ‘killing time’ is a period, it seems when humans defeat time and do nothing
• ‘time will tell’ when what passes from now into the future will bring some revelation
• ‘time management’ is a system of manipulating time to suit purpose
• “the end of time” is, according to Christians, when ‘time’ as we know it will cease to be and a new ‘time’ commences

There have been many songs composed about “time” One, actually based on a passage in the Christian Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) tells of time for every matter under heaven…., “Turn, turn, turn – to everything there is a season” The Byrds, and then there is “The times they are a changin” Bob Dylan, “Sounds of Silence” Simon & Garfunkel, ,“Time” Backstreet Boys, “Wasted time” Eagles, “One time” Justin Bieber. One particular website I researched had lyrics for 1000 song titles with the word ‘time’ in it (www.azlyrics.com)

Time is a part of human existence and as the above shows, time has many contexts and facets – human time, clock time, calendar time. It seems though that no Science is yet able to define or agree on what ‘time” is. Time these days is also associated with ‘value’ – it seems these days that people are ‘time poor”. What does that really mean?

I’ve always thought that time is something that passes? Does it? Why then do we look forward to ‘the time when”. Perhaps then, time comes? Realistically I confess… I do not know what ‘time’ is!

A little research was needed to help me understand ‘time”! The following quote from Benjamin Franklin helped me understand: “Does thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of”. Makes sense – time is life and our life is time. Or, I hope that makes sense.

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” (William Penn), so remember “It’s not the hours you put in your work that count, it is the work you put in the hours” (Sam Ewing).

I rather like that last saying; it tells us to use our ‘time’ wisely, and when linked to the Benjamin Franklin quote tells us that we should use our life wisely – for time is the “stuff” life is made of.

So, whatever time is for you, value it, use it well, live it. Ask yourself: “Am I using my time at work wisely?” “Do I make enough time for my life out of work?”, , “Have I volunteered enough of my available time to help with social causes? “Am I ensuring that my time as an educator is actually resulting in making a difference to someone?”

I’ve put in time to write about ‘time’ because I actually ‘made’ time to do it! How clever is that? To be able to ‘make’ time to do something you want to do? I hope you have enjoyed spending your ‘time’ reading it and reflecting on the many messages contained within. (By the way, I’ve just realised that the word ‘time” has been used about 70 times in this posting!)